November 03, 2010

You say it's November? | What? Vegan food at the mall?

What? You think Halloween is so October? You think it's too late to post a Halloween wrap-up? Well, I'm usually much more behind than this, so this post is early by my standards, and how can anyone be tired of Halloween; it's only Nov. 3.

Miss E, the panda, with two uncles.

I couldn't attend any of my usual Halloween parties since I'm not in Madison anymore, and we didn't have any to go to here, so we had a family Halloween dinner. I didn't even dress up — all my wigs and costume-y things are packed in boxes back in Wisconsin; no yellow dotted-Swiss debutante dress, no poodle skirt, no marathon runner outfit (most comfortable costume ever — I know some of you are real marathon runners and are probably raising your eyebrows, but for me it's just a costume), no outfit that caused my son to say I looked like the old ladies down in Florida where my parents lived (my hair was teased and sprayed into bigness instead of its usual limp state, for that costume, and one of the guys at the party quite seriously told me it looked really nice, and I should always wear it that way ... eeewww). Just a nice family dinner at home for us this year. But a FUN dinner, thanks to Jenny.

I copied Jenny's idea for a salad bar supper and accompanied it with a vegetable soup made from the leftovers of Saturday night's Portobello Feijoada. Above you can see some of a selection of salad bar ingredients which included carrots, golden beets, cucumbers, roasted peppers, scallions, kohlrabi, pickles, green and black olives, salad greens, garbanzo beans, black bean soup, baked potatoes as big as your head, and chips and salsa.

We simmered carrots and cauliflower in a little water, then added the portobello feijoada, leftover orange rice, leftover kale, additional spices and stock to create a wonderful soup to go with the salad. I also made baked potatoes. I'd found some organic monster potatoes at the store, and although they were bigger than I wanted, I bought them. I swear they weighed about one pound each. It's lucky our guests were late because those suckers baked for nearly two hours before they softened. After one hour was up with no discernible cooking progress, I put them on my hot baking stone and they finally got the message. They tasted great after they finally cooked. I wish I'd photographed the table and my plate but I was so busy I forgot.

Last night, the leftover potatoes made a great stir-fry side dish cooked with onions, garlic and lightly steamed broccoli, and seasoned with smoked paprika, coarse sea salt, cumin and fresh ground pepper.


VEGAN food at the mall? In the food court?
The other day, we were at the Verizon store, which is located outside Northgate mall, to get my husband's phone fixed, and because we had several more errands to run and I needed a pit stop, we went into the mall and through the food court to find the restrooms. When I came back into the court, ready to head to the next location, I found my husband all excited. "Look at this," he said. "There's a Greek restaurant in the food court that has a list of vegan sandwiches. Look, it even has the word "VEGAN." And so it did. Really big, too — a separate list just like the other categories.

"Well, they should be rewarded for this," I said. "I think we should buy one of those vegan sandwiches so they know they're appreciated." We got a falafel and vegetable (i.e. lettuce and tomato) sandwich to share, since it was lunchtime anyway, and the sandwich, in a large, chewy pita, wasn't bad. Not as great as Maoz ... but not bad. I really should carry my camera at all times, darn it.


  1. Nah, you're not late! ;)

    Aww, it sounds like you had a lovely family halloween!

    And I laughed about your marathon runner outfit! (all sports/exercise wear is just a costume to me! LOL!).

    And yay for finding vegan food at the mall! I'm not even vegan but I get excited whenever I see vegan options on menus or find new vegan products in the supermarket.

    Happy Vegan MoFo! :D

  2. Ha ha ha, it's never too late for a Halloween wrap up!
    Salad Bar suppers are great, my mother-in-law will do this during the summer sometimes. Yours look delish!

    How cool to see Vegan mentioned at the restaurant.

  3. I love the salad bar supper idea!

  4. I love those food surprises. I have encountered some unusually located vegan eats in my days, always a pleasant surprise.

    Your salad bar idea is great! What a yummy way to enjoy Halloween.

  5. Not,
    Thank you for not judging me. In my next life I'll be a marathon runner, not just a costume model.

    I can't wait to do a salad bar supper in the summer. I'll add a lot more stuff. Friends of mine used to do a stir-fry potluck and everyone would bring an ingredient — that would be a fun way to do the salad bar.

  6. aimee,
    I thought the salad idea was pretty cool, and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

    Not only was the Greek food stand a surprise, but the Greek guys behind the counter were surprisingly cute!

  7. Tapatio! I love that hot sauce! That and Cholula pretty much make hash browns for me.

    That's cool about finding the sandwiches in the mall.

  8. Miss E makes one very cute Panda!

    Very cool about the sandwiches in the mall. I had a similar experience last week while I was walking past the Ken's Market on Greenwood Ave and their sign post was advertising vegan baked goods...I think it was a brand called, "I can't believe it's vegan" or similar. It made me think that the whole vegan thing may be catching on...

  9. YES! they did need to be congratulated and buying a yummy sandwich!! i love that story!how exciting!

    ugh halloween is the ONE time i dont HAVE to bat down my hair. everyone thinks its jsut part of my costume:) my hair is huge! lol glad you had fun:) i got to wear a tail so i was happy.

  10. Mo,
    My family eats everything with hot sauce! (Maybe not oatmeal.)

    I think I saw that sign as we were passing by Ken's. The whole world is turning vegan ... :D

    I've always wanted big hair. We all want what we don't have. I'm reading a scifi book right now and the aliens have tails. Maybe you would like it ...:D

  11. Looks like a delicious meal. Salad and soup is one of my faves.

  12. I's never to late for Halloween pictures.
    I love the salad bar idea! I will have to remember that!
    That is too cool about the food court. I am seeing vegan foods pop up in a lot more places. Yay!!

  13. That sounds like a fun Halloween to me! Actually, I think I'd prefer to do something like that instead of a costume party. I like the idea of a salad bar dinner. It's probably much easier than cooking a whole bunch of separate dishes.

  14. I saw that sandwich place! Glad you tried it. I was super happy to see it knowing I could bring our few vegan friends there if we were in dire straits.

  15. Whenever I see vegan foods in "regular" stores/restaurants I try to buy something too, just to support the effort and to encourage them to carry more. It always makes me so happy to discover vegan options...I am such a geek, lol!


  16. I love the marathon runner costume idea! I'm totally gonna wear that one year, that's freaking hilarious.
    Suprising vegan finds are always rewarding! And I agree, sometimes it's just good to buy something to let them know they're appreciated.

  17. Aimee,
    You could probably have eaten, too! Lots of raw stuff, and no gluten that I can think of. There was a small amount of soy in the soup.

    I think when vegan foods are identified in a mall food court, anything can happen. Vegan food courts take over the world!!!

    It may require less stove time but it sure adds up to a LOT of bowls.

    I'd say dire straits would be a good enough reason, but with all the excellent vegan food spots in Seattle, hopefully you won't have to go to Northgate for dinner. :D But if you ARE at Northgate when hunger strikes, well, have no fear of the falafels!

    I'm with you.

    Understand, I have total respect for marathon runners, and ALL runners — I once was a runner. But it makes a great and comfy costume, and you can wear running shoes instead of uncomfortable ones! You should do it.

  18. Vegan food at the mall, no way!

    And I see someone's home from Europe!

    Your Halloween sounds excellent; much better than many other things you could have done. And much more delicious.

  19. Yay! Thanks for the shout-out. I'm glad that it went over well.

    The marathon runner thing made me laugh.

    My eyes perk up any time I see the word vegan outside of my computer or cookbooks - it's exciting!

    I've never paired broccoli with potatoes - I'm interested.

  20. Salad bar supper is such a cool idea! Love the panda outfit! I always get so excited whenever I find vegan food at unexpected places. :-)

  21. Claire,
    Yes, way. Hard to believe, isn't it? It was a good Halloween, but I should have dressed up.

    You're welcome. I wish I really were a marathon runner. Kind of.

    Chow vegan,
    I think the most exciting thing about finding the food was that it was actually labeled and described. Just like the other food.

  22. What a pretty little Panda! A marathon runner costume sounds so quirky and funny! I love it!

    How cool that you found such a vegan friendly place at the mall - those places aren't known for their vegan (or even vegetarian) friendliness.

    PS: I really want your potato-broccoli stir fry!

  23. I'm like drooling over the broccoli. LOL It's my fave veggie, though. :D

  24. Miss E. looks SO cute! And yup! Anything energetic/sporty would be a costume for me, too! :)
    How exciting to find somewhere in the mall that actually sold vegan food and labeled it as such! We were excited to find a 'vegetarian' cafe nearby and were assured that very little of their food contained any animal ingredients at all! But then we saw that they offered tuna as a baked potato filling... (Sorry if I've told you this story before. It still rankles...)

  25. Okay, Andrea, thanks to this post and some of the comments on it, as well as your comment on my blog, I no longer feel rueful. In fact, I now almost feel downright smug about being so very prompt with my Halloween post! LOL

    I wish you had photos to share of some of your Costumes of Halloweens Past! They sound great! Especially the "big hair" and debutante dress ones.

    All your food looks delish, as always (broccoli and potatoes, two of my very best food friends cozying up together, yum!) and your party sounded fun. And is any party complete without a guest appearance by an adorable panda? I think not. :-)

    I love the table all your party nosh is sitting on, too! I want a table like that someday! Is it antique?

    Kudos to you for patronizing the Greek restaurant at the mall that's joining the vegan wave! I'm glad you rewarded them, and were rewarded in return with a tasty lunch! Yay!

  26. River, If I can't BE a marathon runner, at least I can dress like one — once a year, anyway.
    Finding a list of vegan foods on the menu was a quirky surprise. Who wudda thunk it?

    I love broccoli, too, almost as much as kale. :D

    It's disconcerting to find fish in a vegetarian restaurant, but as long as they make the food choices clear, so everyone knows what they're getting, it could be a good thing to invite non-vegetarians into a mostly veg restaurant. Exposure and thinking about food choices is the first step. It wasn't a tuna facsimile, was it?

    Your post was earlier than mine, if that gives you comfort. :} I DO have photos, but they're all in Wisconsin. I even made a little book of Halloween costumes for a design project once, though I don't think the debutante was in it. That dress was so pretty. :D I wish I could have scanned the photos for this post.
    In truth, the party probably wouldn't have happened without the panda.
    The table probably looks better in the photo than real life. It's not mine — it lives in the house we're renting and it's not an antique. I know just the kind of table you mean, though!

  27. Those of us who are also always behind in our posts really appreciate this wrap-up. Just sayin'.

    And I do wish you'd had your camera with you--would have loved to see the sign!

  28. Ricki,
    One of these days I'll go back and photograph the sign — and maybe the guy behind the counter.


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